It’s not always easy being a football fan; but right now, under Slaven Bilic, supporting West Ham United is an absolute joy to behold!
The Hammers are enjoying an unbeaten home run that stretches back to the summer sun of August and the Irons are just one win away from another day out at Wembley Stadium.
Their latest triumph; a 1-0 win over arch-rivals Tottenham was particularly sweet, a thoroughly deserved success that dented the North Londoners’ title charge, gave yet another memorable night under the lights as the Hammers’ farewell countdown continues.
That victory closed the gap to fourth placed Manchester City down to just a point and the Hammers are daring to dream of UEFA Champions League football during their maiden voyage at the Olympic Stadium.
And who is going to tell us it’s not possible? Let’s face it this Premier League campaign has been crazy. With Bilic at the helm, anything is possible and there certainly is a buzz about the Boleyn again.
The West Ham faithful haven’t enjoyed times like this since the mid-1980s and we intend to lap it all up. Dimitri Payet is a modern day Alan Devonshire; Michail Antonio is fast becoming an Irons hero with his elaborate celebrations and in James Collins we have a Braveheart at the back.
But perhaps most importantly, we have a rejuvenated skipper in Mark Noble who just gets everything about this magnificent club. This squad is one of the most exciting we have ever had, and in Bilic we have a manager who is more than capable of getting the best out of them.
As farewells go, this is the most fitting of all. With just TWO league defeats in the East End all season, this old home of ours is enjoying its final days in style.
Famous wins over Liverpool (twice), Chelsea and now Tottenham have given the West Ham faithful plenty to shout about. It is true that with every passing home game there is a tinge of sadness, but the cries of joy last night shook the Boleyn Ground to the core.
Looking around the ground last night you couldn’t help but smile. From the working class men still in their builders clothes dancing around in the Bobby Moore Lower to the men in suits in the East Stand Lower singing like brothers in arms, it was almost like poetry in motion.
It really is what being a West Ham fan is all about, watching your boys thrive on the big occasion. Seeing the togetherness both in the stands and on the pitch is wonderful and it really is a credit to Bilic and his coaching staff that he has turned this club into a unified force once again.
There won’t be many nights like last night left, but with the future looking bright, nights like that will become a norm at Stratford.
Looking at the present now, the real question is just how far can we go this year?
With just ten league games remaining and potentially four FA cup ties, should the Irons require a replay against Manchester United, the ‘Farewell Boleyn’ season is rapidly coming to an end and I have my eyes firmly fixated on that final home game against the Red Devils.
With the ‘top’ sides faltering, that game could take on huge significance and a win could give the Boleyn a very memorable send off indeed. With both Arsenal and Manchester City seemingly catchable, this is an ideal opportunity for the Hammers to enter the history books.
Picture this – requiring a win to secure Champions League football, locked at deadlock with the clock ticking down on the Hammers’ final few minutes at the Boleyn. Referee Mark Clattenburg blows for a free-kick on the edge of the box. You know what’s coming. Payet steps up to bend an inch perfect shot into the top corner to lift the roof off the Boleyn for the final time!
Just the thought sends shivers down the spine.
Add to that the possibility of silverware come May, this could be a very enjoyable final season at the Boleyn, so let’s enjoy these special times. Who knows how far we’ll go; but under Slaven, anything can happen and I believe this is just the start of a very bright future for the Irons.
Come on you Irons!